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Mwonzora backs Chief Charumbira amid opposition onslaught

HARARE – MDC Alliance president Douglas Mwonzora has celebrated the election of Chief Fortune Charumbira as President of the Pan African Parliament saying it was a victory for the Southern African Region and a great step towards lasting African unity, democracy and integration.

Chief Charumbira was elected new President of the African Parliament last week, shrugging of competition from South Sudan MP Albino Aboug and Malawi’s Yeremiah Chihana.

He emerged victorious following a protracted battle over the “principle of geographical rotation” which resulted in the abrupt stopping of the PAP’s 4th Ordinary Session in June last year. The African Union Commission had to intervene and suspend the session as it descended into chaos over the disagreement.

Citizens Coalition for Change had before the vote branded Chief Charumbira a law breaker for publicly announcing that chiefs support Zanu PF adding that a local law breaker cannot be celebrated abroad.

Mwonzora took to twitter to back Chief Charumbira insisting that his victory should cut across political affiliations.

“Some people especially in Zimbabwe and Zambia have cited domestic political differences as a reason to decampaign Charumbira. However, these differences can not be a basis to justify and accept regional domination,” he said.

“In a remarkable display of political maturity, South African MPs in PAP, Hon. Majodina( ANC), Hon. Malema (EFF) and Hon. Majola (DA), put their domestic political differences aside and fought side by side for the sacrosanct principle of rotation.

“The election was good for Southern Africa. Our political differences aside, it was good for Zimbabwe. It was irresponsible for some leaders to decampaign the candidate from the country while other countries were actively supporting our candidate,” Mwonzora continued.

“We should never be afraid to stand for what is right. The example set by South African Parliamentarians in PAP appeal to the MDC as a manifestation of political maturity and reasonableness.”

Human rights lawyer Obey Shava had also cast the cat among the pigeons after saying “Chief Charumbira doesn’t respect Zimbabwe’s constitution and the courts. Charumbira publicly announced that chiefs have always been supporting Zanu PF and declared their continued support for it. This was contrary to section 280(2) of the constitution.

“On 14 May 2018, the High Court declared that the partisan comments by Chief Charumbira supporting Zanu PF were unconstitutional and ordered that they be retracted within 14 days. Charumbira tried to have the judgement rescinded but on June 19, 2019, the High Court stood its ground and dismissed his application. Still, he remained in defiance,” he said.

“Charumbira has defied everyone, the law and the institutions which support democracy in Zimbabwe. Supporting him would be endorsing his disrespect for the law, the constitution and the courts. A local law breaker can’t be celebrated abroad. It spells doom for the future of democracy in SADC.”